This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

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Monday, February 27, 2012


"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

There is a debate going on in the progressive community that has received little commentary from the alternative media: Does the use of such terms as “fascism” and “revolution” undermine our credibility or do alternatives such as “managed democracy” and “transformational change” obscure the urgent necessity for coordinated action to overturn the corporate economic and political power structure of the US and the world?

Propaganda depends on the use of emotionally evocative language to penetrate the overwhelmed consciousness of citizens under siege. The corporate media and politicians use fear to control confused Americans by directing their anger at those with whom they should be uniting in the common cause of liberty and justice for all. This is how the corporatocracy keeps us divided rather than uniting to struggle together to establish a government of, by and for the People.

Only when we find a way to overcome the great divide between the self-identified Left and Right will we establish a system of government that will be a model for other nations struggling to achieve democracy. Use of emotionally powerful language designed to elicit positive feelings of empowerment and common purpose has a place in our strategy.

The first step in achieving the level of consensus needed to radically transform American political consciousness is for those of us who understand what America has become and what it aspires to be to agree on the content of the message. How we express it should depend on who we are trying to reach in any given context. When speaking with each other we should avoid euphemisms that mask the reality of what we are up against. If we cannot be frank with each other then we risk confusing a just-awakening American public with a watered-down explanation of the constitutional crisis we face.

The word “fascism” is emotionally laden. When used to describe America’s corporate controlled government, there is a risk that people who accept the myth of American exceptionalism will reject our message outright. When speaking to general audiences about the need for a constitutional amendment it is preferable to use the term “special interests” to identify who pose the true threat to democracy that those on the Left and Right both perceive. It is useless to debate those who believe that unions have too much power over the electoral process that they are wrong. The winning strategy to start  real debate is acknowledging that neither organized labor nor corporate CEOs ought to have the power to determine who will represent all of us.

The arguments over the word “revolution” are more complex. The term can be used in an inflammatory way that undermines the common goal of a nonviolent, democratic Revolution. The corporate media and politicians use the phrase to denote the “Second amendment solution” that “leaders” of the Tea Party use to keep ablaze the anger on which their popularity depends.

Most Americans accept what they were taught in school that the Founders established the a democratic government through a constitution that is treated with the reverence of the Bible.   The thought of ordinary farmers giving their lives so that the last, best hope for Mankind might take root obscures the fact that when the Revolutionary War was over only 10% of citizens had the right to vote.

Under the original constitution only white men with property could vote. Democracy has remained an ideal. The struggle to realize it has defined American history. From the Civil War to the fight against the Robber Barons led by the union movement to women’s suffrage, Americans have sought to create a more perfect union where liberty and justice might be enjoyed by all. At each step, reactionary economic elites have sought to contain and reverse those gains. As Americans have lost sight of the stated goals of the original Revolution, we have crept ever closer to the line that divides fascist societies from democratic ones.

To end the Civil War and finish the Revolution, Right and Left must unite to free the American government from the grip of international corporate terrorists who control it.

Transnational corporations have no allegiance to the US or any other nation or its Peoples. Overturning a system of corporate privilege must be our goal if our children are to be free of the grip of global fascism that our parents and grandparents fought and died for in wars from the American Revolution to WW II. That makes ours an international struggle in which we must try to enlist all who have hope and a willingness to struggle together to save human civilization.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Soldiers For Peace International was conceived as a model for how to build a movement capable of ending war. It closely parallels the mass movement after WW I to make war illegal by international treaty. That was spearheaded in the US by a war hawk turned diplomat and supported by groups around the country and then around the world who realized that if the vast majority of the citizens of developed nations worked together to make their will known, their governments could not easily refuse.

One of the key constituent groups of this movement was the religious community who all agreed that offensive war should officially be made an international crime. They put aside doctrinal differences and came together in the cause of liberty and justice for all of the Peoples of the world, which is of course the message that all the founders of the great religions of the world tried to impart to the billions of their followers. It is this kind of unity upon which a successful mass movement depends.

The movement was divided at one point when those who wanted to pass the law through the League of Nations butted heads with those who wanted to do it outside of the League by treaties ratified between individual nations. In the end it was the latter strategy that succeeded, but only because the two sides put aside their differences and supported each other as they pursued their individual strategies in parallel with each other.

We know of course that a strategy to end war that tries to use the United Nations as its vehicle is doomed to failure because of the undemocratic nature of the UN, where the most powerful nations retain the right to veto the will of the majority. The token representation of the rotating members of the Security Council is thus a sham. The only benefit of the Security Council is that the major powers provide a check on each other’s excesses. Even that was not enough to stop the rape of Libya, the weakening of the Russian sphere of influence that is one leg of the balance of power or the illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Like the Occupy movement that came two decades later, Soldiers For Peace International was designed to be anarchical. Contrary to the popular perception, that merely means that there are no designated leaders. The advantages of this structure should be obvious by now. Without designated leaders the movement is not subject to being co-opted. Leaders can arise only on the strength of their ideas, which is their only source of support. They become in a sense a natural “aristocracy” but one which can only retain leadership by consistently putting the interests of the 99% over ego and personal interest.

Soldiers For Peace also depends on the leadership skills of those who understand military strategy and tactics, whether they are veterans or not. Make no mistake: We intend to go beyond mere protest and create the conditions for a peaceful, democratic Revolution that will free all people from the threat of enslavement in a permanent fascist New World Order. That can only happen if we develop a consensus behind each step in the strategy that develops in this way. Our Army is not dependent on imposing the will of a few leaders on those who volunteer to serve but on the willingness of foot soldiers to fight for a cause they believe in, regardless of the strength of the opposition of their corrupt governments or the divisive infighting of self-appointed leaders within the movment.

We are seeing a point in the budding American and world Revolution where we have to choose whether to proceed together or in tandem. We have no hope of success if we cannot agree to work together on our mutual goal. If we compete with each other for money or for “followers,” we will find that we have none. As the Occupy movement has shown, in this worldwide democratic Revolution each of us must aspire and be given the opportunity to become leaders in our own right, to the best of our ability.

Millions of Americans have already decided that the key to establishing true democracy in the United States is passing a constitutional amendment that will cut off the source of corporate power at its root: The ability to choose the Puppets of their choice to represent their interests over those of We the People. That power rests on their ability to pay for the obscenely expensive political campaigns of those willing to sell their independence in exchange for working for the international corporate terrorists or at best to fight a losing battle against the endemic corruption that corporate rule has created.

The largest coalition in the abolition movement is Move to Amend, a hierarchically structured organization controlled by a few self-appointed “leaders” who dictate strategy and tactics to the huge coalition of groups they claim to represent. They have rejected all efforts of constituent groups and individuals to persuade them that depending only on their strategy of passing resolutions at the local and state level has no chance of success. Their most active spokespersons have repeatedly argued that Congress is so corrupt that it is useless to try and persuade its members to introduce and fight for an amendment that will accomplish our mutual goal of moving us a giant step forward in ending corporate rule.

There is a second coalition forming that has a different strategy. It is to make support for a strong constitutional amendment a campaign issue in every race in 2012 and beyond until we elect enough servants of the People to get the amendment passed. This strategy has been embraced by groups as diverse as Take Back America for the People, Abolish Corporate Personhood Now, Move to Amend of Ohio, Public Citizen, Free Speech for People, People for the American Way and Demand Progress. Take Back America and Abolish Corporate Personhood Now are working to develop a common strategy, while each of the other groups is encouraged to promote the Pledge to Amend campaign in any way of its choosing.

One of the other problems confronting those of us who are working for unity in the abolition movement is that some groups have chosen to back a particular amendment and bicker and backstab supporters of other versions. Move to Amend for instance backs an amendment that the Steering Committee wrote without allowing constituent groups to criticize or debate. Once more, the ugly head of elitism is threatening unity of the movement. The amendment they produced has been criticized by a number of constitutional lawyers and other experts on the topic, yet their response to this criticism is to ignore the concerns until they feel that their positions of influence are threatened, then attack the critics and attempt to isolate us.

The persistent disregard and outright rejection of the will of the members of a coalition that voluntarily puts their names in support of the efforts of those who start the coalition is the sure sign of a failed leadership. That is what all of us are fighting: failed leadership in Washington. If we cannot move forward together to create the critical mass needed to succeed in this nonviolent democratic Revolution, we will fail. Those who divide us are agents provocateurs, whether that is their intent or not. Those who challenge their autocratic ways are seeking to unite, not divide. As sovereign citizens we will continue to demand that our voices are heard so that others may have the knowledge of the variety of strategies and tactics they may choose to put their efforts behind.

There is no reason that we cannot choose to work on parallel tracks to get to the same objective. In choosing to dissociate Move to Amend from the rest of the movement, the Steering Committee risks undermining its own authority, which depends on the consent of those they purport to lead. I fully expect that in the end all will be forgotten in the flush of victory, but in the meanwhile I encourage the foot soldiers of the Revolution to choose for themselves what path to take. We are all headed to the same objective, after all.

Friday, February 10, 2012


The Peoples of the United States and the world are faced with a stark choice between liberating ourselves from a future of debt slavery or freeing ourselves at last from the twin scourges of fascism and war. If we choose to do the latter, it will require educating the common class of the need to give up cherished delusions of radical individualism, national exceptionalism, free markets, the sanctity of private property and the inevitability of war.

Rulers once understood that when a small group arises that seeks to make debt slaves of its People, that system of government is doomed to collapse. Hammurabi established the principle that a ruler had the absolute right to renounce debts and the responsibility to do it when the People could not free themselves from debt bondage. This idea did nor represent an enlightened philosophy but arose from the recognition of the simple fact that the fate of a nation and its government depended on the government’s willingness to protect the basic rights of a People it might someday rely on to fight its wars of conquest.

The tradition continued in ancient Israel, where the tradition of Jubilee required the wealthy to forgive unpayable debts every seven years, ensuring that a lender class did not arise to control the People through usury. When Islam arose, faithful Muslim adherents were required to give a certain amount to assure that family, friends and the poor in general were always able to meet their basic needs. Such governments thrived until they clashed with more powerful debtor nations who used the credit of monarchs to build Armies that could conquer more egalitarian societies and force them to pay tribute in the form of taxes.

The problem with these systems from the point of view of the creditors was that nations which lost wars of Empire could not always afford to pay tribute sufficient to make a profit, and conquerors could choose to renege on their debts, which they often did, remembering the lessons of the past. Nations which forgot the past were inevitably felled when the debt slaves rose in open revolt against the oligarchies that naively assumed they could not unite to defeat them and their powerful Armies.

From time to time, tyrants would arise who would assume control of an oligarchy by appealing to the citizenry by forgiving them their debts. This is the principle by which Athens and many other city-states in Greece and later Rome were founded. Greece was laid waste by Rome when the oligarchy there decided that conquest was a way to endless riches that would always be able to meet the needs of both the ruling class and average citizens by taking it by force from the People’s of other nations. It was the rise of a powerful and unchecked creditor class that spelled the end of the Roman Empire when its subjects in other lands, with nothing to lose, arose in open rebellion.

We find ourselves now in the position of the Roman Empire just before the fall of the Republic. A creditor class with no allegiance to the United States, its people or any of the nations or Peoples of the world has arisen and is fighting among itself for control of what they believe will be a permanent fascist New World Order. They forget that in the game of Monopoly, there is only one winner. In their arrogance, each assumes that the alliances they form now will enable them to turn on the weakest nations among them and that in the end, they alone will emerge victorious.

In England before the American Revolution and in the United States after, bankers were forced to accommodate to the prospect of democratic control of the governments of debtor nations. In characteristic fashion they found a way to make a virtue out of what should have spelled their doom. When a people voluntarily incorporated as a democratic nation, they assumed by choice the debts incurred as the result of war and other government functions that were seen as necessary and inevitable but which in fact served the interests of the moneyed class. This was the first step toward self-imposed national debt slavery.

When the United States and other ostensibly democratic nations allowed their monetary systems to come under the direct control of the lending class, they took the next step. When their corporate-controlled governments renounced sovereignty over their own trade policies to an oligarchy of lenders who constructed the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, they took the next step toward creating a one world government that is totally out of control of the Peoples of the world. The World Trade Organization was created to promote a fictional free market that has never existed in reality. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, ostensibly formed to help emerging countries, became tools to make them nations of debt slaves. We are now witnessing the inevitable result of our allowing central control of the world economy: The United States and Europe too are becoming slaves in a fascist New World Order.
In Europe we can see the seeds of a revolt against an Empire controlled by the creditor class of international corporate terrorists. These are the parasites that control the governments of the US and its current allies in the War of Terror, which is being waged to control the resources necessary to prevent the rise of any challenge to their collective power. In Greece, the hardest hit of the nations of the European Union and the birthplace of democracy, the People have not forgotten that the right of the People to determine their own destiny is absolute. Rather than giving in to austerity measures that amount to paying tribute to the banking cartels that dictate to their government, they are standing up to demand economic and social justice.

In Iceland, the People have already spoken. They took back their own government and renounced the crushing debts imposed by the creditor class that controls the IMF, as Argentina did when subjected to the cruelties of the economic straightjacket the International Monetary Fund demands to bail out the very nations whose economies they have crushed. In Greece, Spain, Ireland and other nations threatened with economic devastation by a ruling class with no regard for their welfare, the People are rising in open revolt to the Anglo-American Empire that is threatening human civilization with its ability to wage world war economically and militarily.

Once upon a time in America there were nations where the People ruled themselves and where for the most part, nations lived together in peace and prosperity. These were the first truly democratic societies, with absolute equality, a voice for women in government, a natural aristocracy where the Peoples chose their leaders and a common recognition that the fate of each member of society could not be separated from the fate of the group, its neighbors, or the planet itself. This awareness led them to create a system of government where what was necessary for an individual to survive and thrive was considered the common property of all. These were the nations of the Native Americans.

The US constitution is a hodgepodge of compromises between leaders impressed by the governments they found in America and those who wanted to preserve the privileges of the wealthy and in particular the wealthy slave owners who lived in luxury from the toil of those who they forced to do their work for them. This grand compromise fell far short of the democratic ideal, but had the saving grace of incorporating a means of evolving as the nation progressed toward true democracy. It is through the amendment process that the US constitution has been altered to guarantee rights to former slaves and to women. Had the Supreme Court in its infinite arrogance not resisted the tide of history in granting constitutional rights to corporations, we might now be enjoying the blessings of freedom and democracy for ourselves and our posterity.

The price of the original sin of slavery was a bloody Civil War that cost the lives of more Americans than all of the wars before and since. This was the cost of achieving a more just nation, one which must ultimately repay the debt owed to the martyrs of that war by ensuring that the last, best hope for Mankind does not perish from the Earth. If we can end the current Civil War between liberals and conservatives, we can finish the Revolution by working together to pass a constitutional amendment that will abolish corporate personhood, wrest control of the US government from the hands of international corporate terrorists and for the first time in human history establish a true democracy.

We are fighting this time not only for the freedom of one group but for the freedom of Mankind. If we put aside the artificial distinctions that we allow to divide us, we can take back America for the People, help the nations of the world free themselves and together leave our children a future devoid of the threats of slavery, famine, environmental destruction and war.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Democracy cannot survive unless citizens know what their government is doing in their names. Without this knowledge a People are unable to fairly judge the actions of its leaders. This is necessary for citizens to make informed decisions when they choose who to represent them. When schools, the media and politicians are all controlled by powerful special interests, any claim that a nation is democratic is a lie.

This is the situation in which the people of the United States find themselves today. It is clear that our government is concealing its actions in order to keep secret the fact that it is serving powerful corporate interests to the exclusion of those of We the People. Since these corporations owe no allegiance to any nation or its People, the United States government is effectively in the hands of traitors and foreign agents who manipulate it to serve their own interests. Although the evidence is in the public domain, it is hidden beneath layers of secrets and lies.

The victors in today’s culture war will write the history that our children will be taught in schools. If we let them defeat the forces of democracy they will not study books like A People’s History by Howard Zinn, but be fed a Bolshevized history that reflects the fascist views of the economic elite who dictate the curriculum. George Orwell warned us in 1948 that a time would come when America would be enslaved by international corporate terrorists who would collude to keep us fighting for corporate Empire and ignorant of the truth of our plight. His argument reflected a deep understanding of the means by which
fascist and communist leaders keep rebellion to their rule in check.

When the People of a nation forget the mistakes of the past it is condemned to repeat them. The deliberate distortion of US and world history by the corporate elite threatens to condemn our children to enslavement in a fascist New World Order. It is thus up to us to become the teachers who will train them to changethe world. We who have lived through the history of a nation that has strayed from the path to democracy have the moral responsibility to help them understand the difference between fascism and traditional conservatism, which seeks to preserve the best of the past rather than to assume that the course of history is not in our hands.
The complicity of the US government in the 9/11 attacks is unmistakable, yet anyone who calls for a reassessment of the facts is labeled a “conspiracy nut.” Those who promote theories of deliberate collusion between the power elite are given a platform for their ideas so as to discredit those of us who are more cautious in making conclusions as to the way in which the US government has been made subject to a few powerful individuals. The battle of the SuperPACs taking place in the Republican presidential primary illustrates that there is no organized conspiracy against democracy in the US, only fleeting alliances between those among the economic elite who are concerned only with their immediate self-interest.

It is ironic that the more the US government takes pains to conceal the fact that it has been taken over in a corporate coup, the more it tries to control the flow of information on the internet. One means by which it does so is to give itself the power to engage in surveillance of all traffic on the internet, as well as phone conversations and bank transactions. This is done in the name of fighting terrorism to conceal the fact that it is our own government that is the chief cause of the War of Terror that no longer threatens only the Peoples of governments that refuse to submit to the expansion of corporate Empire, but the freedom of the formerly complacent citizens of the US.

Some would say that the death of privacy is detrimental to democracy. I would argue that it has the potential to be a principle determinant in whether democracy can survive. Imagine if our so-called leaders were required to take an oath that they would never lie to us. If enforced, this would enable Americans to not only judge but to remove the corporate Puppets in Congress who do not give a second thought to the fact that they routinely betray those who put them in power. Having sacrificed their privacy for the sake of power, they would no longer be able to dismiss those of us who demand accountability for their actions.

If we demanded such transparency from our leaders, we should expect that our own actions would be open to the inspection of our fellow citizens. The business leaders who conceal the criminal actions they commit in the pursuit of profit could then be held accountable to We the People. The petty little injustices that we commit against each other should be known if we are to claim to be leaders in our communities. In a true democracy under the rule of law, we would have nothing to fear if our actions matched our words. Such a society could function democratically because all the facts would be known when we must make a collective decision affecting all of us.

As a therapist I have found that any problem is made worse by keeping it to yourself. Worse yet is concealing the truth from yourself. It becomes a cancer eating at your soul. Hiding your faults prevents you from achieving integrity and the essential ability to become capable of being a responsible citizen. It is thus not only a betrayal of self but of all our children and generations yet unborn.

Democracy requires that a People be good enough to rule themselves. The only alternative is to accept rule by others. Inevitably, this gives rise to an economic aristocracy that will seek to control us in order to maintain their positions of privilege. Only in an open society can a People fairly judge what its government should be allowed to do in its name.

Freedom of thought cannot be abridged, but freedom expression can be violently suppressed by a government in a nation bitterly divided against itself. This cannot happen in a truly democratic society whose people understand that what is best for the individual  is always what is best for all. Only when the American people decide to cross the great divide that separates them can they hope to end the civil warand finish the revolution.

Friday, February 3, 2012


The people of the United States face threats to their safety, health and economic well being that are not being addressed by Congress. Congress has a favorability rating in the single digits, yet we continue to re-elect the vast majority of its members every two years. The reason is that most Americans seem afraid to face the greatest threat: that the Democratic experiment may fail because of rabid partisanship, for which we are ultimately responsible. The dangers our government is failing to address pose a threat to the rest of the world given the economic and military dominance of the United States over other nations.

If we want a government of, by and for the People, we must achieve consensus on where we want our leaders to take us. That requires forging a consensus on what kind of America we want to leave our children. This is the crux of the dilemma in which we find ourselves. If we cannot agree on what we want our elected officials to do, then they will continue to do as they please. That is generally to keep themselves in office by catering to the interests of the special interests that pay for their obscenely expensive election campaigns.

Our task as Americans is thus to end the ability of the moneyed few to control the electoral process. As long as we continue to labor under the delusion that one party or the other represents our interests, we will continue to fight each other instead of the plutocracy that controls our government by virtue of their wealth and power. When both parties concede that they must continue competing for special interest money, supporting either unconditionally makes us complicit in a system that is driving America away from the path to true democracy.

Democracy cannot exist where a people are not good enough to rule themselves.That means a society that does not assure that the rights and needs of all of its citizens is not a true democracy, which is predicated on the notion that every citizen has equal opportunity to thrive in that system. It does not mean that wealth is redistributed by the government. It means that one of the roles of government is to ensure that an economic aristocracy does not arise to take control of it. We as a nation have failed to do that.

We are a society where teachers are demonized for contributing to the economic decline because they dare to demand decent pay and health care in exchange for preparing our children to be productive and responsible citizens.The assault on teachers is just one piece of the general effort to wage class warfare on the worker. In attempting to systematically destroy unions by taking away the right to collective bargaining that Reagan once said was fundamental to democracy, the wealthy are attacking the entire middle class. If we do not realize that and work together to protect ourselves, we will fail in our duty to leave our children a world better than we found it.

Jefferson taught that democracy cannot survive without educated citizens. He knew that a People who forget its history is condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. The battle between Americans like Jefferson who wanted a nation of free people and those who refused to abandon the notion that a few privileged individuals had a divine right to rule over the many has been going on since the founding of the nation. We are at a time in history when we must finally finish the Revolution born in the blood shed by those who gave their lives for the freedom of all people, including generations of men and women around the world yet unborn.

If we are to ensure that the last, best hope for Mankind does not perish from the Earth then we must put aside the artificial distinctions that divide us and work together to end control of the government by special interests. That means that we must decide what it is that we can all agree is the minimum expectation of those seeking our votes in 2012 and beyond. In my view, that is their pledge to support a constitutional amendment to end the ability of wealthy and powerful special interests to control the electoral process.

This is a collective, nonpartisan cause that will require us to reject the fallacy that the unique characteristic that makes one an American is the individual freedom to do as one pleases with no regard to the effect of our actions on others. The true character of those who founded our nation was defined by their willingness to put their lives and sacred honor on the line for the sake of ensuring liberty and justice for all people around the Earth forever.